Breast Cancer and Migraine

In 2012 I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Breast Cancer and had a bilateral mastectomy and went through chemotherapy and Herceptin treatment. I then had a hysterectomy and was put on Anastrozole as an adjuvant treatment that was originally to be for 5 years. I have had Migraine since I was in my 20’s, but not to the point where I couldn’t live a normal functioning life. My Migraines became chronic directly after starting the Anastrozole. I contribute this treatment to the increase and severity of my pain. I am now in year 4 of this treatment and recently was informed by my oncologist that studies have now shown that 10 years is better for lower reoccurrence rates of my cancer. He had a Risk of Reoccurrence study done on my breast tissue tumor to evaluate my risk factor, to see if I needed to continue taking the Anastrozole for another 5 years. The test came back with a 13.5% risk factor. I though this was a relatively low number, but the findings indicate that any % over 5.8% is a High risk of reoccurrence. So now I find I have 6 years of this drug left that I believe causes my Chronic Migraine. I have been to 3 different Neurologists, and they don’t have a lot of information or studies to correlate this drug that reduces the amount of estrogen your body produces. Many women who are older that quit taking the drug because of the side effects, which include joint stiffness and pain, swelling of ankles, insomnia, nausea and many other hard to live with side effects.

I don’t feel like I can stop the medication not only because of my higher risk factor, but because I am only 53 and I have an 11 year old child, and I don’t want the cancer to come back, I want to see my son grown up. I have tried CPAP for sleep apnea, Botox treatments, Accupuncture, and many, many preventive medications, but none seem to impact the Migraines frequency or pain levels. I do take Maxalt as a rescue drug, and it helps if I can take it in time to stop the pain, before it becomes debilitating. The thought of 6 more years is depressing and very daunting. I sometimes wonder which is the better decision, missing out on so many things and not being able to make plans because of Migraine or taking a chance of my cancer returning.

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